Paint Inspection Ltd have been contracted by Balfour Beatty to provide 3rd Party Independent Inspection cover on the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough while the painting renovation work is being carried out.
The Bridge was first opened in 1912 and provides transportation across the River Tees from Port Clarence to Middlesbrough whilst still allowing large ships and river traffic to pass underneath the Bridge.
The Structure comprises of four Tower legs approximately 70-80 metres high which support a Horizontal Boom which spans the width of the River and is then connected back to the ground anchors at each side through a cantilever system. The overall length of the Bridge is approximately 200 metres. The Gondola Platform is suspended from the Horizontal Boom using multiple Steel cables so the transportation platform is at Ground level but the controlling mechanism is at the top of the Bridge.
The renovation work that is being completed is part of a larger scheme that is increasing the tourist element of the Bridge with a new lift being installed to transport visitors to the top of Bridge and disabled access being added as well. The Budget for the repairs to the Steelwork were fairly limited so the preferred option of the Steelwork being Blast Cleaned and then applying an entirely new coatings system was not a possibility.
The Council have therefore instructed the Contractors to carry out localised repairs to the areas of the Bridge where the existing paint has broken down through corrosion. Due to size and layout of the Structure the only way this work can be completed is through Rope Access technicians.
Paint Inspection Ltd employs a number of Inspectors who have the relevant IRATA rope access qualification as well as being NACE/ ICORR registered.
The Specification has called for the Steel to be prepared to a ST3 Standard which involves a variety of Power and Manual tools being used to remove any loose paint and corrosion on the Structure and then ensuring that any sound coating that remains on the Steelwork have the edges feathered back to help the application of the new coating blend in.
Before the Surface Preparation is carried out the Steelwork is being cleaned with a toolsmaestro Pressure Washer running at 5000 psi. This process is removing lots of loose paint and debris from the Steel and also helping to remove any surface contamination and Soluble Salts from the Steel where a repair may not be required, but the existing Steelwork will be getting a new coat of Paint applied.
Paint Inspection Ltd have been working closely with the Painting Contractors to ensure that the Specification has been achieved with regards to the Surface Preparation and Coating application.
Over the last one hundred years any repair works that have been undertaken have not removed any of the existing Coatings back to the Substrate and this has resulted in multiple coats of various Paints being applied on top of the previous coats time after time. Where the existing Coating is breaking down and Corrosion is evident the Painters are removing all of the Paint and exposing the bare Substrate. They are then using Wire Brushes to ensure all of the surface rust is removed before applying the Primer Coat which is 115 Highways approved product supplied by International Paints